I love festivals. Not the music festivals that everyone else goes for, but the real festivals, the big family events that take over a full town. The Puck Fair in Killorglin is one of my favourites - three days of complete madness, with a few magic and puppet shows thrown in. I will be back there this August.
But this week I got to a new festival, the Salmon Festival in Ballina, County Mayo. I was there on Sunday, in pouring rain, and a big crowd turned out despite the conditions. I swapped shows with Babcock and Bobbins, a Northern circus act who were very funny.
Then on Wednesday I was there for Heritage Day. The entire town centre was pedestrianised, and so many people were in antique clothes. I was in my kilt, but I met a man from Belgium who had a far nicer kilt. I am jealous. I did a number of shows, but I made sure to take time out to enjoy the atmosphere. I saw the Slieve na mBan, the armoured car that accompanied Michael Collins on his last trip through West Cork. And I bought a beautiful South American poncho. I can't wait until it gets cold enough to wear it.
Street food is a particular pleasure for me. I had a fantastic steak sandwich,. then walked up the street and saw a man (Mack and Spud) selling fillets of fresh mackerel lightly fried, with sauteed potato. Food of the gods. Despite being stuffed, I had to have the fish. So good.
Hopefully I will get the chance to take in a good few more festivals during the summer. In the meantime, if you want a magician, a puppet show, a clown, a science show, or any other kids entertainment in Cork or Munster this summer, give me a call. Weddings, funerals, birthday parties - any event at all. Have fun. Tony